Christian mom and blogger Veronica Partridge posted an entry to her blog earlier this month, detailing her decision to stop wearing leggings. What’s notable about the post are the reasons she gives for this choice — reasons that we see echoed throughout the “modesty” doctrines of the Christian community, that teach women that their clothing choices and the appearance of their bodies are responsible for the thoughts and actions of other people.
Now, before going further, I do want to be clear that I’m not criticizing Veronica, or calling into question her right to dress however she likes, for whatever reason she wants. I’m also not suggesting that she was hostile or anything of that nature in her post; she actually goes out of her way to stress that these are her thoughts and not a universal moral injunction against yoga pants. My problem isn’t with Veronica at all — but with the religious teachings that can convince her that wearing an item of clothing of which she is very fond is a sin, and can in turn cause other people to sin. My problem is with “modesty culture.” Veronica’s post is simply a good illustration of how women internalize these teachings, and the impact they have on a person’s thoughts.
Veronica writes that she had “been having a conviction weighing heavy on [her] heart” regarding tight pants, but one discussion in particular, with a set of both male and female friends, really struck her: